US ELECTION - ARE WE THERE YET?
Nope, and the result could take a bit more time to determine with the last mail-in votes arriving to be counted. But as things stand this morning, Democratic hopeful Joe Biden is one or 2 battleground states away from getting the 270 electoral votes he needs to claim victory. He’s sitting on 253 – but it’s not a done deal yet. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump, who is on 214 electoral votes, has started legal action to stop the ballot count.
HOW’S THE COUNT GOING?
Slowly… The states of Michigan and Wisconsin were called for Biden yesterday. Fast forward to this morning, and depending on which media outlet you’re looking at, close-run races in the states of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada are yet to be declared. The widely-sourced Associated Press has called Arizona for Biden, which would see the long-held Republican state flip to the Democrats. That puts Biden on 264 electoral votes and inches away from a win. Trump, who needs all those remaining states to come his way, is currently ahead in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia, but Biden is closing the gap as mail-in votes are counted.
SO TRUMP IS LAWYERING UP?
He sure is… His campaign says it will formally request a recount in Wisconsin quoting examples of voting irregularities. It’s filed legal action in Michigan and Pennsylvania to end the processing of votes saying Republican officials haven’t been given proper access to observe. There are also legal steps being taken in Georgia, and the Trump campaign says it’s getting ready to take on the count in Nevada. If anyone was in any doubt about Trump’s position, he tweeted “STOP THE COUNT!” overnight, again drawing criticism from across the political spectrum, but getting support from, well, his supporters… For his part, Biden continues to call for calm, saying under his leadership “There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.”
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FIRST FOREIGN INTERFERENCE CHARGE LAID
Melbourne man Di Sanh Duong faces up to 10 years in jail on a charge of planning – but not carrying out – an act of foreign interference in Australia. The 65yo has been linked to a foreign intelligence agency, but authorities have not confirmed the details. Duong, who is the first person to be charged under Australia’s foreign interference laws, is known to be someone with close ties to the Chinese Government. And reports say he ran as a Liberal candidate in Victoria’s state election in 1996. Duong was granted bail yesterday. When the laws were implemented by the Turnbull Government in 2018, China was angered because its officials saw the move as targeting them.
CHINA KINDA CONFIRMS NEW IMPORT BANS
There’s still no official word from China about moves to put new restrictions, suspensions or penalties on some Australian imports, but the next worst thing has happened… China’s Global Times, the government mouthpiece of choice, has published an article confirming moves are afoot to “cost Australia its best and biggest market” because we continue to “ sabotage bilateral relations”. There has been speculation this week that Chinese importers have been briefed by government officials that Australian wine, lobsters, sugar, coal, copper ore and concentrate, barley and timber would no longer be allowed after today. That’s circa $5-6 billion in exports under threat. And it follows months of claims by China that several Australian suppliers had breached trade rules or not passed quality checks. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said an official response from China was being sought.
AUSTRIAN OFFICIALS UNDER PRESSURE ON TERROR WARNING
Authorities yesterday said mobile phone footage has confirmed that the 20yo Islamic terrorist who killed 4 people in a shooting rampage in Vienna earlier this week acted alone. But questions are being asked about whether they could have prevented the attack. In July, neighbouring Slovakia alerted Austrian intelligence officials to the gunman’s unsuccessful attempt to buy ammunition there. It was investigated, and no action was taken, the government says. The gunman, who was killed by police, had been released from jail in December last year. He was locked up after attempting to travel to Syria to join Islamic State and had convinced authorities he was reformed. An inquiry will look into the justice system and security agencies’ handling of his case. Fourteen people have been arrested in Austria, and Swiss authorities have arrested 2 “friends” of the attacker.
BEST WISHES, WARMEST REGARDS
Talk about awkward… NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is none too happy with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk after she didn’t get a response to her Sunday text. Berejiklian says she congratulated Palaszczuk and reminded her that a chat about the NSW-Queensland border was needed. No reply… until Wednesday night when she got 3 words back from Palaszczuk rubbing in the State of Origin result – ‘Queenslander. Great game’ – “or something to that effect,” Berejiklian said of the missive. “I didn’t know whether to be shocked or bemused, frankly,” said an unimpressed Berejiklian said. “I am worried about jobs, and I am worried about people not seeing their families, and she just rubbed in the fact that Queensland won the game. That’s fine.” Also fine is Palaszczuk – she reiterated the border closure to residents of Greater Sydney won’t be reviewed until 23 November.
“The rump of the wombat is hard as rock, used for defence, burrowing, bonding, mating and possibly violently crushing the skulls of its enemies against the roof of its burrow.” But some more study needs to go into proving that final attribute isn’t a bum steer… Is there no end to what researchers can specialise in?
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
As America headed out to vote on Tuesday, a YouTube video arguing that ‘hexagons are the bestagons’ became the third-highest trending clip on the site. We’d not thought much about our pick for best shape, but we’re now 100% hexagon all the way.
Prince Charles is set to unveil a new fashion foundation promoting youth development and sustainability with the range to be sold on Net-a-Porter next year. He’s talked about that and his reluctance to throw out any of his clothes with British Vogue. Which means he must be gagging for safari suits to come back…
Something fresh-flavoured is on the agenda this weekend, so we’ve got this chicken souvlaki and halloumi bowl on the list. Anything to help balance out the home delivery burger/Thai that sustained us this week…
SQUIZ THE DAY
Ribbit… It’s the start of FrogID Week (until 15 November)
Birthdays for Sally Field (1946) and Emma Stone (1988)
• Abraham Lincoln elected the President of the US (1860)
• the first performance of the Sex Pistols (1975)
• Australia voting against becoming a republic in a referendum (1999)
7.45pm (AEDT) – Bledisloe Cup Rugby – New Zealand vs Australia – Brisbane
Horse Racing – Mackinnon Stakes – Flemington
Birthdays for DJ/music producer David Guetta (1967) and singer Lorde (1996)
• Franklin D Roosevelt re-elected President of the United States for a record fourth term (1944)
• Hillary Clinton being elected to the US Senate, becoming first US First Lady to win public office, and while still the First Lady (2000)
• the deaths of Leonard Cohen (2016)
Myanmar’s general election
Start of NAIDOC Week (on until 15 November)
Birthdays for author Kazuo Ishiguro (1954), chef Gordon Ramsay (1966)
• the first distillation of Bourbon Whiskey from corn by Elijah Craig in Bourbon, Kentucky (1789)
• the birthdays of Dracula inspirer Vlad the Impaler (1431) and Dracula author Bram Stoker (1847)
• German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen producing and detecting X-rays for the first time (1895)
• the landmark Harvester Decision where the Australian Arbitration Court decided
that 7 shillings a day was fair and reasonable wages for an unskilled labourer, which became the basis of the national minimum wage system (1907)
• the elections of John F. Kennedy (1960) and George HW Bush (1988) as President of the United States
• the premiere of soap opera Days of Our Lives (1965)
• Donald Trump’s election as US President (2016)
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